Cracked Fiberglass Bathtub: Repair or Replace?
LESLIE: Calling in from Rhode Island and listening in on WPRO we’ve got David. What’s happening at your money pit?
DAVID: I just bought this house off my mother in November.
TOM: I hope you gave her a good price. (chuckles)
DAVID: Yeah. No, I did; I did. You know, she was good to me, too. I got the hometown discount.
DAVID: But the bathtub is, I guess, fiberglass and what happened was it cracked in the middle. So it’s kind of a two-part thing. First of all, is there any kind of epoxy that I could just do like a temporary fix on that? But the bigger thing is I want to do – I want to take the tub right out and I want to put in like a shower; no tub at all.
DAVID: And I was talking to somebody and I got a price of like $5,000. It’s kind of they do it in one day, in-and-out type of thing.
DAVID: And then I was talking – I work on a movie set and I was talking to one of the carpenters and he says I should be looking at Corian; would be better.
TOM: Mm-hmm, yep.
DAVID: It might be the same amount. But is that – I’m just trying to get – is that like the going rate for doing something like that?
TOM: Well, it’s probably a going rate for doing a bathroom remodel. Some of these bathroom retrofit companies do have sort of a one-day approach where there’s a lot of action in one day and gets the job done fairly quickly. You know, $5,000 to remodel a bathroom is probably an average price. I don’t know what type of remodeling you’re talking about doing here and I can’t really tell you if it’s a good price or not just a good price.
As to your earlier question about a way to repair a fiberglass tub, you can repair it; it’s not pretty, but what you do is you can go to an autobody store – like a Pep Boys or something like that – and you can buy fiberglass material and the fiberglass resin and actually repair it …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and do the patch yourself.
TOM: Yeah, repair it the same way you would repair a car body or a boat body. I actually have had to do that to a shower basin once that cracked on me that I wasn’t ready to replace yet and it works great. I mean it really is a smelly job but it does work very, very well. So that will certainly get you through it.
TOM: But in terms of the replacement beyond that, yeah, Corian is a gorgeous material …
LESLIE: Yeah, and you know what’s interesting? Corian is one of those solid surface materials and there’s another company that does something similar called Silestone and they actually, at the builders show this past January, introduced a Silestone shower pan and shower walls …
LESLIE: … which come I forget in which sizes but pretty much standard sizes or can be customized to whatever size you might need and they’re really beautiful; they ‘re very, very durable; they’re scratch-resistant; they’re stain-resistant and it works out really well for the prices. It’s not going to be terribly inexpensive but it’s not going to be overly expensive either and it will be a gorgeous bathroom addition.
DAVID: And that’s the thing because I looked at some of the model pictures and it seemed like a one-size-fit-all type of – I’m not even sure what the material was …
DAVID: … and the carpenter said, “Look …” You know? And that’s the thing. I don’t want to do it fast. I want to do it right and I want it – the stone you’re talking about, that’s really what I wanted; a different kind of look like that with like the full-body shower coming down.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it looks very similar. You can get the Corian or the Silestone in a variety of colorations where it almost looks like a terrazzo where there’s like speckling into it or there’s even some that looks like there’s a mirror speckle into it; almost like a granite. It’s really up to you to find something that works. I think they offer something like 40 different choices from Silestone and Corian has something similar to that; so there’s a lot of options.
DAVID: Yeah, I know. I’ve got to actually find the time to get somebody in and – because I don’t want to do it in a hurry, but my main thing is this is the first time I’ve ever owned a house so it’s all new to me and I didn’t really know – trying to get, you know, like – that’s like the going rate, you’re saying; right in that range; like an average thing. I’m sure I could spend a lot more and a lot less.
TOM: Yeah, you certainly could. David, why don’t you do this? Why don’t you go to a kitchen-and-bath showroom and see if you can work with a certified kitchen-and-bath designer. These folks are certified by the Kitchen and Bath Industry Association and can take a look at your bathroom and give you some ideas as to what’s practical; what kind of price range you’re talking about; how long it would take to get the job done and really get you in a position where you can have a good overview of all of the materials and options that are available. Because as you say, you’re not in a hurry; you just want to do it once, do it right and not have to do it again; just be able to enjoy it.
DAVID: That’s a great tip because I didn’t even know those people existed. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: David, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.